Glossary of Sport Terms


Glossary of Sport Terms

Sport, or sportive activity, involves physical exertion or skill in competitive conditions, with various elements of skill and competition usually controlling the activity and usually exists formally through organised teams and leagues where the participants compete to achieve a set goal. There are many different types of sport: motor sport, sailing, racing, golf, gymnastics, hockey, basketball, track and field and swimming. Sports can be competitive or non-competitive; often the terms sport and non-sport are used interchangeably, but in reality each sport has its own specific characteristics, qualities and abilities, and accordingly there are specific rules governing the activities. Some types of sports can be controlled by one or a number of competitors whereas others, like sailing, are governed by the International Fleet Management Association (IFMA) and the United States Coast Guard. A sport can also be combined with other activities, for example, ice skating and snowboarding, or used as an event in competitive competitions.

The UK government’s UK Office of Film, Television and Music (BTMC) provides a useful guide to popular broadcasting companies offering sport programming for television, radio and online purposes. The glossary defines the different terms commonly used and distinguishes between different types of sporting activity. A definition of sport should be inclusive of all forms of sport activities, which may include contact sport and non-contact sport. It should describe an event or competition as being conducted under the guidelines of a governing body, and include details of rules applicable to that event. The glossary defines the different terms used in relation to sport coverage, the inclusion of images in sport reporting, and identifies which types of terms are used to identify events, the reporting of which may vary depending on the media outlet involved.

Sport terminology can also be confusing, particularly for non-professionals, as it requires some knowledge of popular terminology used in other fields. For instance, while many people associate the term ‘fury’ with Formula One car racing, it refers to any of a number of motor sports that incorporate a vehicle. Another common problem is that many people assume that certain types of activity are included under the heading of sport, when they are not. For example, body-boarding is widely seen as a sport, yet it is actually a very narrow category within more general categories of fitness. While there is certainly nothing wrong with using the word’sport’ to refer to different types of activities, it is always wise to consult a dictionary before attempting to explain an activity to a fellow student.